The autonomous Kurdish Regional Government of northern Iraq announced that it plans to hold an independence referendum in September, though its leaders have played coy about whether they’ll actually declare independence afterward if it passes or use the outcome as leverage in trying to strike a better deal with Baghdad over a federalized Iraq.
That being the case, there’s also immense regional opposition to their plans coming from the four surrounding states which could be most adversely affected in the geopolitical sense. Turkey is leading the charge in opposing Kurdish statehood because it fears that this could embolden PKK militants in its southeast. Iran also fears an independent Kurdistan because it’s been fighting against its own Kurdish separatists for decades now, with violence flaring up again last summer and sporadically continuing into the present day.
The state of affairs is such that nobody really knows if the Kurds will indeed go forward with their independence aspirations or not following their upcoming historic referendum, nor is anyone certain how the neighboring powers will react to this development should it happen, but that’s precisely the reason why there’s so much fear about Iraq’s War on Terror turning into a civil or even regional war.
Andrew is joined by Engin Ozer, Turkish political analyst and expert based in Moscow. Also on the line with us is Joe Lauria, journalist who has worked nearly three decades in mainstream media. He is the author of the new book How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, with the foreword by Julian Assange.
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